The Inter-religious Council of Uganda would like to comment on the homosexuality and pornography debate particularly the anti-homosexuality and anti-pornography laws.
Having studied the two laws in detail, we have come to the conclusion that the laws actually seek to protect the moral fibre of our society by stopping recruitment and promotion of homosexual acts, and indecent behaviour.
In our earlier statements on the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, we demonstrated availability of evidence to prove that recruitment into and promotion of homosexuality was indeed taking place in some of our schools and society as a whole, and this was targeting mainly young people.
However, we discovered that a number of clauses in the laws could be subject of abuse. For example: Section 2of the Anti-Homosexuality Act is too broad as it talks about incriminating someone on the basis of “touching a person of the same sex with the motive of having sex with them”. The interpretation of “touch” is subjective, and may imply that anyone can be accused of homosexuality and fail to defend himself.
Section 13 of the same Act stipulates that it is an offence for “any person to use electronic devices (internet, films and mobile phones) for purposes of abetting or promoting homosexuality. The problem here is that if a person/media house writes an article trying to show homosexuality as ‘natural’ then he/she commits an offence earning a stiff penalty to either the individual or the media house.
In light of the above, we propose the following:
Parliament revisits certain provisions in the Act, especially those relating to punishment of offenders. Our view, which is informed by pastoral considerations and our earlier position in which we advised government to drop certain provisions in the then Bill, is that the sentences prescribed for homosexual acts must be proportional to the gravity of such acts.
Government stops the media from publishing names of persons it purports to be homosexuals, or promoting homosexuality in Uganda. Politicians and sections of religious leaders also stop using inflammatory language in the debate on homosexuality. Government also revisits the Anti-Pornography law in light of recent attacks of women.
Government provides clear frameworks for implementation of both laws.
Government dialogues with the donor community on the looming suspension of aid to our country.
We condemn any unlawful acts of mob justice against perceived offenders, and appeal to you to embrace such persons with love and compassion as we search together answers to the issues at hand.
Secretary General Inter Religious Council of Uganda